Individuals applying for naturalisation in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt are now mandated to express their endorsement of Israel’s right to exist, announced Minister Tamara Zieschang in Magdeburg.
The directive, issued by the Ministry of the Interior to districts and independent cities last month, emphasises the acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist as a matter of national significance for Germany, according to the decree obtained by the German Press Agency.
The document states: “Obtaining German citizenship requires a commitment to Israel’s right to exist.”
Moreover, as part of the naturalisation process, applicants are required to provide a written statement immediately before the finalisation of their naturalisation, stating that they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and denounce any attempts aimed at challenging the existence of the state of Israel.
When considering naturalisation, Zieschang emphasised the importance of assessing “whether there are indications that anti-Semitic attitudes are present.”
The letter to local authorities clarifies that naturalisation is not an option for individuals engaging in activities that oppose the principles of the free democratic system, including anti-Semitic offences or the rejection of Israel’s right to exist.
The decree instructs local authorities to define the precise language of the declaration. Should applicants decline to provide such a statement, the issuance of the naturalisation certificate is prohibited. This refusal must be duly documented in the file, leading to the rejection of the naturalisation application.
The decree advises local authorities to “specify” the language used in the declaration, reported the German Press Agency. Failure by applicants to provide this declaration may result in the withholding of the naturalisation certificate. According to the letter, such cases should be duly recorded in the file, leading to the rejection of the naturalisation application.
The move comes after a new poll revealed last month that the German government’s pro-Israel stance on the Gaza war is not supported by the public.
The poll by the Allensbach Institute found that the majority of Germans are against taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and strongly oppose providing military support to Israel.
Some 43 per cent of those surveyed said Germany should stay out of the conflict, and only 34 per cent said they agree with the view that Germany bears special responsibility for Israel due to its Nazi past.
Since 7 October, Israel, supported by the United States and Europe, has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, causing massive destruction and tens of thousands of civilian casualties, most of them children, in addition to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, according to official Palestinian and UN sources.